Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master's business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. – John 15:13-15
My in-laws were visiting us in Europe. They honestly had no desire to travel and sightsee. They just wanted to be with the grandchildren and have an idea of what our lives are like here. So we took them to eat Turkish pizza. While there we ran into “Harry” and “Sheila,” the very friends who introduced us to Turkish food. “Harry,” who was born in Europe but has Turkish parents, was one of our first students at the center where we taught English as a second language. We had been ministering to them for some time and praying with them as they experienced different trials. “Harry” had a hard time believing that Butch would take his time to really pray for him. He began bringing his friends to his “praying professor.” “Harry” considered it an honor to meet the father of his English teacher. In introducing himself to my father-in-law, he explained, “Butch was my teacher, but now he is my friend.”
What a joy it was for us hear this. “Harry” had not been in a class for a couple of years. Yet we noticed how often he still introduced Butch as his teacher. To hear the distinction made, let us know that indeed the foundation for a deeper relationship had been laid. “Harry” may have felt neglected and insignificant before man and before God, but having a friend changed that for him. Jesus himself demonstrated the need to build relationships with those who are ignored and neglected in order to share until one day the opportunity comes to share not as teacher/student or master/servant, but rather as friend with friend. And more importantly, our relationship with Jesus is to develop in the same way.
Is Jesus just a savior? There is more. Is Jesus just a boss? There is more. Is Jesus just a good teacher? There is more.
Is that homeless man downtown just a nuisance? He is more. Is that woman covered with a veil at the mall just strange? She is more. Is that dirty child just someone you want your kids to be careful of? He is more. Is that woman speaking another language just someone who hasn’t integrated into American society? She is more.
Question: List people you see or have contact with that would appear neglected or ignored. How many of them are hearing that God loves them for the first time as a natural result of your relationship with them?